US-based nurse inducted into Palanca’s Hall of Fame

LOS ANGELES-BASED Filipino orthopedic nurse Peter Solis Nery was inducted into the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature Hall of Fame in an awarding ceremony held at The Peninsula Manila hotel in Makati City on Saturday night.

The 43-year-old Nery, a native of Iloilo province, earned the honor after clinching the top prize in the Poetry for Children in English category for his collection “Punctuation”, which he dedicated to “young writers trying to separate sentences and phrases.” He also won second prize in the Filipino division of that category for his collection “Sa Mundo ng mga Kulisap.”

Nery’s “Punctuation” victory is his fifth first-place win, fulfilling the requirement for inclusion in the Hall of Fame. His previous first-placing works are his Hiligaynon short stories “Lirio” (1998), “Candido” (2007), and “Donato Bugtot” (2011), as well as his English full-length play “The Passion of Jovita Fuentes” (2008).

His other winning works are the Hiligaynon short stories “Ang Pangayaw” (third prize, 2000) and “Ang Kapid” (second prize, 2006); the English one-act play “The Wide Ionian Sea” (third prize, 2010); the English children’s poetry collection “The Shape of Happiness” (second prize, 2011); and the English full-length play “If the Shoe Fits (Or, The Five Men Imelda Marcos Meets in Heaven) (second prize, 2011).

Nery is the 23rd person inducted into the Hall of Fame. Previous inductees include the late National Artist for Literature and Theater Rolando Tinio; acclaimed screenwriter-director Jun Lana; Man Asian Literary Prize finalists Dr. Jose “Butch” Dalisay Jr. and Alfred “Krip” Yuson; and Dr. Isagani R. Cruz, president of The Manila Times College.

Yuson and Cruz, joined by fellow Hall of Fame honorees Manuel Buising, Reynaldo Duque, Dr. Eugene Evasco, Dr. Luis Gatmaitan, and Edgardo Maranan, helped Carlos Palanca Foundation Director General Sylvia Palanca-Quirino and Carlos Palanca 4th present a silver plaque to Nery in recognition of his latest achievement during the ceremony.

Asked about his induction, Nery expressed satisfaction for “having achieved what I [had] set out to do,” as well as the need to prove himself more to justify his inclusion.


The ceremony’s guest of honor, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., was presented with the Dangal ng Lahi award by Quirino and Palanca. In his speech, Jimenez extolled his department’s efforts to promote the country through its campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”, and expressed interest in acquiring books for the agency’s events.

In her speech, Quirino noted that many creative writers have deepened their love of country and offered their time and talent “by writing how it is to be Filipino, and by submitting their entries to our annual contest.”

“Whether a writer wins or loses in a contest is of no great moment, really. It is a win-win process when one commits his thoughts, insights, imagination, and commentary on paper. That is what the Filipino writer does, whether he wins a Palanca prize or not,” she said.

Quirino also announced her foundation’s forthcoming publication of a series of books—“I Did It—So Can You!”—that celebrates Filipinos from modest backgrounds who achieved great success in their chosen fields, as well as the establishment of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards Research Facility in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

Other highlights of the ceremony include a poetry reading of Nery’s “Punctuation” poems, performed by poet Marjorie Evasco and stage actor Miguel Faustmann, and actors Robert Seña and Candy Pangilinan performing an excerpt of Joshua Lim So’s “Joe Cool: Aplikante”, which won first prize in the One-act Play in Filipino category.

Established in 1950 in honor of Carlos Palanca Sr., the Palanca Awards aims to help develop Philippine literature by providing incentives to creative writers to craft their best works, and be a treasury for such works. It is often dubbed the Philippine version of the United States’ Pulitzer Prize.

© Alvin I. Dacanay & Manila Times: September 3, 2012